Soil profile, NPS photo, E. SeeleyPatch of soil and flowers, NPS photo, B.R. McClellandGrizzly tracks in soil, USGS photo

Soil is the basic resource upon which all terrestrial species depend. It is necessary for the growth of vegetation, which in turn is used by many species for food and habitat, but it also supports buildings, roads, and trails on which humans depend. The formation of the diverse soils of the Crown of the Continent ecosystem stem from a varied history which includes ancient seas, glaciers, volcanoes, and floods. Factors such as cool temperatures, low availability of water, and steep slopes lead to the poorly developed and young soils of the Crown of the Continent. In fact, much of the Crown has relatively little soil. The valleys within the Crown contain the deepest and most fertile soils while much of the alpine areas consist of bare rock.

A basic soils map for Glacier National Park was completed in 2001. A detailed soil survey mapping project including soil chemistry analyses began in 2011 with approximately 325,000 acres mapped to date. The survey is projected to be completed in 2015.